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Rep. Ellison Condemns Attacks On Libya

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Obama is condemning the attack in Libya that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

A mob with guns and rocket-propelled grenades stormed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Ambassador Chris Stevens was there trying to evacuate staff when he lost his life. Initial blame was placed on an inflammatory YouTube Video about the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

But U.S. officials are now investigating whether terrorists may have planned the attack. President Obama promises justice no matter who is to blame.

The killings and the attacks on U.S. Embassies in Libya and Egypt are also being condemned by the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House — Rep. Keith Ellison.

And for the Dean of the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute, the killings are personal. Dean Eric Schwarz is a former assistant Secretary of State who knew and worked with Ambassador Stevens on Libyan refugee issues.

The attack happened in the Libyan city of Benghazi, where the U.S. has a consulate, which is smaller and less secure than the main U.S. Embassy in the capitol city of Tripoli.

Benghazi is notoriously dangerous, according Dean Chris Schwartz of the Humphrey Institute.

“Security in Eastern Libya and in Bengazi in particular is very problematic even on the best of days, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross both of those organizations have withdrawn from Bengazi,” he said.

Schwartz says Ambassador Stevens was universally admired.

“One of those cases where someone rose to a position of great importance while still being a really nice guy,” Schwartz said.

Congressman Ellison has traveled extensively in Libya. He said security will need to be reviewed.

“One of the reasons this may be a terrorist attack instead of mob violence that is out of control is that there is a lower security footprint at this spot,” he said.

It’s not clear if the Bengazi protests were in reaction to a video posted on YouTube by a California-based filmaker that mocks the Prophet Mohammed.

But the video which is now blocked from YouTube is believed to be behind violent protests yesterday at the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.

Ellison watched the video.

“It is insulting, but it can never be an excuse for violence, just never,” he said.

The U.S. is also exploring whether the killings may be linked to a pro-Al Quaeda group. Intelligence officers said the attack on the Benghazi consulate was “too coordinated or professional to be spontaneous”.

The day before the attack the Al-Quaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, called on Libyans to retaliate against Americans as revenge for a drone strike that killed at Al-Quaeda deputy in June..

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